But, do bats stay upside-down even while they poop?
How Do Bats Poop?
Despite spending most of their lives upside down, bats do not poop out of their mouths. A bat poops out of its anus. Bats need to be upright in order for the poop to easily drop from the body. Bats most often poop while flying. They may also rest on a perch to relive themselves.
Animals That Do Poop and Pee Out of Their Mouths
Because bats are known to hang upside down, somehow people believed that they must do everything upside down, including pooping.
One thing they do not do while hanging upside down is poop. They need to be right-side-up to achieve this feat.
They poop while flying or, if perched on a bar-like structure such as a tree branch, quickly go upright to poop, but there are a whole group of animals that do poop while they’re upside-down.
These water-dwelling creatures are called echinoderms. There are over 7,000 species, including sea urchins, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, and starfish.
Starfish, for example, have only one body opening. What goes in also goes out.
Technically, this is neither a mouth nor an anus, although it is the same place where it feeds and excretes. The starfish pushes its stomach out of that body opening to surround prey and digest it.
This helps a starfish eat something that is actually bigger than the starfish. Any waste comes out of the same opening.
There is one species of turtle, the Chinese soft-shelled turtle, that poops normally but urinates abnormally. The urine comes out of the mouth.
When it has to urinate, it seeks out a small body of water like a puddle, sticks its head in and urine pours from the mouth. The puddle of water becomes, in effect, a turtle toilet.
Sadly, these unique animals are considered a delicacy, and their populations are listed as vulnerable to extinction.
About Bat Poop
The floors of caves, abandoned mines, or other places where bats have roosted for a long time are covered in droppings called guano.
Bats tend to return to the same caves over generations, adding to piles already left behind by their ancestors.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, Bracken Cave in Texas has a bat guano pile a staggering 59 feet deep. The pile is thought to be thousands of years old.
Bat guano is rich in nutrients that creatures have learned to exploit. Many insects eat guano. Other creatures, like frogs, then eat the insects.
Whole cave ecosystems often rely on bats to keep the food coming. Unfortunately, the worldwide decline in bat populations also threatens the populations of insects that eat bat guano and the creatures that eat the insects.
Dried bat guano is rich in potassium nitrate or saltpeter, nitrogen, and phosphorous. It makes great fertilizer. In fact, bat guano’s an ingredient used as gunpowder during the American Civil War.
Caves back then had healthy bat populations, so guano miners in Texas could get 2500 pounds of guano per day from several caves.
Fossils have been discovered in huge piles of bat guano. The guano preserves them remarkably well.
Why Bats Hang Upside Down
Most of the 1400 or so known bat species hang upside down. Six species do not, such as the sucker-footed bat of Madagascar.
The feet stick to perches through secreting a bodily fluid that hasn’t been clearly identified but is similar to sweat. Whatever it is, it makes bat feet wet.
Wet feet are easier to stick to any surface than dry feet. Other bats living right side up do have genuine suckers on their feet and thumbs to keep upright.
Anyway, why do most bat species hang around upside down? This position makes it easier for the bats to get aloft.
It’s very difficult for a bat on the ground to get up in the air because it cannot get enough lift. It’s more energy-efficient to just drop from a perch right into the air.
Birds are able to easily jump into the air from the ground because their bones are hollow. Winged insects can jump into flight from a standstill because they are so light.
Bats also can’t perch on branches or telephone wires and jump into the air that way. Their feet are not able to do it because they lack the special tendons birds possess.
Bird tendons make the toes grip tighter whenever a bird sits on a perch. Bats stay firmly in their upside-down place because the weight of their bodies helps their tendons lock their toes around whatever they are gripping.
There are many species that prey on bats, such as snakes and cats, that usually catch the bats when they are on the ground.
Very large spiders spin webs large enough for a bat to get caught in. Flying predators like owls and hawks can take them when bats fly, but not when they roost.
Frequently Asked Questions about How Bats Poop
Do Bats Poop Out of Their Mouths?
It’s commonly misinterpreted bats poop and pee out of their mouths. They poop and pee like most other animals, through their anus and urethras, respectively. Animals that do poop out of their mouths are echinoderms, which include starfish, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers.
Do Bats Poop on Themselves?
If bats pooped and peed while hanging upside down, they would soil themselves. However, bats either poop while flying or quickly right themselves in order to poop. Bats usually pee while flying.
Do Bats Poop When Hibernating?
Bats do occasionally need to pee and poop when hibernating. Their body wakes them, they go fly off and poop while flying or find a perch to stay right-side-up and relieve themselves. Then they go back to sleep.
The Least You Need to Know
Bats do not poop and pee while hanging upside down. They need to be right-side-up in order to poop and pee.
They usually poop and pee when flying. If they are hanging by a tree limb, they pull themselves upright to poop, then go right back to hanging upside down again.
Not all species of bats hang upside down, but most do.